Twitter Promotes Dick Costolo to CEO

promotedaccountsTwitter today announced Dick Costolo, its former chief operating officer, has been promoted to the role of CEO of the social network, replacing Evan Williams who will now focus on product strategy. The company also announced the rollout of a new advertiser product called Promoted Accounts, details of which Costolo initially revealed last week.

In a post on the company’s blog this afternoon, Williams described his decision to step down as CEO, and to install Costolo in his place, stating, “I am most satisfied while pushing product direction. Building things is my passion, and I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about what we have to build,” and adding, “starting today, I’ll be completely focused on product strategy.”

In a statement e-mailed to ClickZ this afternoon, Costolo said he respected Williams’ decision to focus on the product side of the business, stating, “As we’ve all see with the new Twitter, when Ev focuses on product, something amazing can happen. I’m certainly excited to be taking on this role. You couldn’t ask to take a job like this at a better time – the team is incredible, we have awesome stuff in the pipeline, and we’re ready to accomplish more in the next two years than we’ve accomplished in the last four.”

Williams’ new remit will include building out Twitter’s advertiser products, through which it hopes to monetize the 90 million tweets passing through its network every day. Also writing on Twitter’s blog, Carolyn Penner – a member of the company’s communications team – confirmed the official launch of Promoted Accounts, a new feature Costolo described at the IAB’s Mixx conference in New York last week.

The product will allow brands to include themselves in the Suggested Followers panel that appears alongside users’ accounts, and is designed to help them increase their audience across the site. However, brands will only be suggested if deemed relevant to users. “When an advertiser promotes an account, Twitter’s algorithm looks at that account’s followers and determines other accounts that those users tend to follow. If a user follows some of those accounts, but not the advertiser’s account, then Twitter may recommend the advertiser’s Promoted Account to that user,” Penner explained.

In addition to the new product, Penner also announced the company will soon begin feeding its ad formats – including Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends – into third-party applications via its API. Partners such as HootSuite will display ads across their properties in return for a share of ad revenue. The arrangement should help increase exposure for Twitter’s advertiser clients, since a large number of its user base access the service exclusively through clients such as HootSuite and TweetDeck, among others.

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